10 Worst Dog Breeds for Seniors

Worst dogs for Seniors

If you’re a senior and you’re thinking about purchasing a dog, there are so many things to consider. If you have had dogs before, you probably have a good idea of what types of dogs you like and what types you want to avoid. 

Since dogs have been bred for many purposes over the years, different breeds have different strengths and weaknesses, and some breeds might be a better fit for seniors than other breeds.

Some things to consider when deciding on which breed to purchase include:

  • the size and strength of the breed
  • the common temperaments and personality traits
  • the amount of time and energy you will need to put into maintenance and caring for the dog.

We have taken all of these things into consideration, and we’ve come up with a list of 10 of the worst breeds of dogs for seniors.

Dog Breed Comparison Chart

Breed Temperament Height Weight Life Expectancy
Pitbull Terrier confident, protective, affectionate 18-19 inches 40-70 lbs 12-16 yrs
Australian Shepherd intelligent, energetic, affectionate 18-23 in 40-65 lbs 12-15 yrs
Border Collie agile, energetic, intelligent 18-22 in 30-55 lbs 12-15 yrs
Cocker Spaniel gentle, playful, energetic, affectionate 13.5-15.5 in 20-30 lbs 10-14 yrs
Russell Terrier inquisitive, loyal, stubborn 21.5-24.5 in 55-80 lbs 10-12 yrs
Labrador Retriever outgoing, affectionate, loyal 9.5-11.5 in in 12-18 lbs 14-15 yrs
Rottweiler loyal, confident, loving, protective 22-27 in 80-135 lbs 9-10 yrs
Dalmatian outgoing, intelligent, elegant, loyal 19-24 in 45-70 lbs 11-13 yrs
Akita loyal, courageous, protective, strong-willed 24-28 in 70-130 lbs 10-13 yrs
Chow Chow intelligent, serious, aloof, loyal 17-20 in 45-70 lbs 8-12 yrs

Related: Top 10 Dog Breeds for Seniors

1. Pitbull Terrier

Image Source: akc.org

Temperament Height Weight Life Expectancy
confident, protective, affectionate 18-19 in 40-79 lbs 12-16 yrs

The American Kennel Club does not recognize the Pittbull as a breed. The term “pitbull” applies to a group of dogs that includes breeds, such as the American Staffordshire Terrier, the Bull Terrier, and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. Pitbulls may be gentle and affectionate with their owners, but their protective nature might make them become aggressive with humans or other animals. They are not high maintenance, but they do require a lot of room to run. These dogs require a lot of training early on in life, and they can be difficult for some seniors to handle.

2. Australian Shepherd

Image Source: akc.org

Temperament Height Weight Life Expectancy
intelligent, energetic, affectionate `8-23 in 40-65 lbs 12-15 yrs

Australian Shepherds are known as the herding dogs often used by cowboys on ranches. They are mid-sized working dogs who are very active and not a good match for an owner with a sedentary lifestyle. Australian Shepherds are high-energy, rambunctious dogs that require a lot of time and attention, as well as lots of daily exercise. These dogs aren’t well-suited to small living spaces or apartments since they need room to run around. While Australian Shepherds are affectionate and might be a good option for families, this is a demanding breed that may not be the best choice for seniors.

3. Border Collie

Image Source: akc.org

Temperament Height Weight Life Expectancy
agile, energetic, intelligent 18-22 in 30-55 lbs 12-15 yrs

Originally bred to be herders, these medium-sized working dogs are strong and smart. They have excellent instincts, which make them great watchdogs, and they get along well with children and other pets. While they do respond well to obedience training, they may occasionally snap at strangers. These dogs have a lot of energy, and they need plenty of space to run around, so they’re not suited to apartments or small spaces. If they don’t have enough activity to keep them busy, they tend to get bored and destructive, so they may not be the best choice for seniors.

4. Cocker Spaniel

Image Source: akc.org

Temperament Height Weight Life Expectancy
gentle, playful, energetic, affectionate 13.5-15.5 inches 20-30 pounds 10-14 years

Cocker Spaniels are sporting dogs that are sturdy and quick. With their long coats, they do require some grooming and also shed a fair amount, and they have a tendency to get ear infections, so they are high-maintenance. They are very playful and nonaggressive, which makes them good dogs for families with children. While they are affectionate dogs, they have a lot of energy, and they need a lot of training, so they might not be the best choice for some seniors.

5. Russell Terrier

Image Source: akc.org

Temperament Height Weight Life Expectancy
inquisitive, loyal, stubborn 10-12 in 9-15 lbs 12-14 yrs

As working terriers originally bred for fox hunting, the hunter in Russell Terriers may cause them to bring you squirrels or other trophies. While they are relatively small dogs, they have a lot of energy, and they need ample space to run around, so they are not suited to apartments or homes with no outdoor space. They have a reputation for being stubborn and aggressive, so obedience training is important with this breed. Russell Terriers are great watchdogs, but it takes a lot of energy to keep up with them.

6. Labrador Retriever

Image Source: akc.org

Temperament Height Weight Life Expectancy
outgoing, affectionate, loyal 21.5-24.5 in 55-80 lbs 10-12 yrs

Labrador retrievers are medium- to large-sized dogs that make good family pets. They are known for being one of the most popular breeds of dogs in the United States, and they are commonly used as assistance animals. While they do have excellent temperaments, they require a lot of time, attention, and space to run. Labrador retrievers shed more than many other breeds, and golden labs have a double-coat, which means even more shedding. These dogs are not low-maintenance pets, and because of their size and strength, it may be difficult for some seniors to control them while walking them.

7. Rottweiler

Image Source: akc.org

Temperament Height Weight Life Expectancy
loyal, confident, loving, protective 22-27 in 80-135 lbs 9-10 yrs

Rottweilers are strong, sturdy working dogs that have a natural instinct to protect their owner and their territory. While properly trained Rottweilers can be good family pets, they can display an aloof attitude toward strangers in their effort to be protectors. Because of their strength and large size, Rottweilers are not suited to apartment living and are not a match for first-time dog owners or most seniors. These dogs are very protective, and they may respond aggressively to visitors or those who seem threatening to them.

8. Dalmatian

Image Source: akc.org

Temperament Height Weight Life Expectancy
outgoing, intelligent, elegant, loyal 19-24 in 45-70 lbs 11-13 yrs

Commonly known as “firehouse dogs,” Dalmatians are strong, muscular, and dignified. Their loyalty and affection make them good dogs for families, but they might seem aloof when around strangers. Dalmatians need lots of outdoor exercise, and they can be destructive and difficult to train. They are also very high-maintenance, and they shed all throughout the year. While these dogs are good companions for some people, such as runners or those who have large, open, outdoor spaces at home, many seniors may find them unsuitable.

9. Akita

Image Source: akc.org

Temperament Height Weight Life Expectancy
loyal, courageous, protective, strong-willed 24-261 in 70-130 lbs 13-13 yrs

These dogs originated in Japan, where they were known as protectors and symbols of good health and happiness. They can be affectionate and playful with their families, and they enjoy human companionship, but they don’t get along well with other animals. Their staunch protectiveness may sometimes result in aggression toward humans, so it’s important that they receive obedience training and are properly socialized when they are young. There is a good amount of maintenance involved with Akitas, and while they don’t shed year-round, they do require proper grooming to keep them from leaving large amounts of hair around the house.

10. Chow Chow

Image Source: akc.org

Temperament Height Weight Life Expectancy
intelligent, serious, aloof, loyal 17-20 in 45-70 lbs 8-12 yrs

While Chow Chows are loving and protective toward their families, they can be aggressive with both humans and other dogs. They are not excessively high maintenance, but some grooming is required, and they don’t shed as much as some other dogs. Chow Chows don’t mind being alone, and they don’t require a large amount of exercise. They are not affectionate or friendly, and they don’t necessarily enjoy being around children, so they might not be the best companion for many seniors.

We created this list to give you some things to think about that would help you in the decision-making process as you prepare to purchase a dog. We do want to point out that we aren’t saying any of these breeds are bad, but there are some qualities that may make them more suitable for seniors, and there are other qualities that may make them a better fit for someone else.

Methodology

A lot of the information included in this article was informed by the American Kennel Club website. They are a great resource for information on dogs.

Disclaimer

The personality and traits of individual dogs can vary. The characteristics listed above are generalities. Please consult an adoption organization for details on a specific pet.

Back to Blog
Request a quote